Background: The importance of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is increasingly recognized in hospitalized adults, but mainly in those ≥ 65 years.
Objectives: We sought to describe the epidemiology and clinical severity of RSV compared to influenza in hospitalized adults ≥18 years.
Study design: Adults hospitalized with acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) of ≤10days duration were prospectively enrolled from two Michigan hospitals during two influenza seasons. Collected specimens were tested for RSV and influenza by real-time, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Viral load and subtype were determined for RSV-positive specimens. We evaluated factors associated with RSV and outcomes of infection using multivariable logistic regression. RSV-positive patients were separately compared to two reference groups: RSV-negative and influenza-negative, and influenza-positive patients.
Results: RSV was detected in 84 (7%) of 1259 hospitalized individuals (55 RSV-B, 29 RSV-A). The highest prevalence was found in 50-64year olds (40/460; 8.7%); 98% of RSV cases in this age group had at least one chronic comorbidity. RSV detection was associated with obesity (OR: 1.71 95% CI: 0.99-3.06, p=0.03). Individuals with RSV were admitted to the hospital later in their illness and had a higher median Charlson comborbidity index (3 vs 2 p<0.001) compared to those with influenza. Clinical severity of RSV-associated hospitalizations was similar to influenza-associated hospitalizations.
Discussion: In this study we observed the highest frequency of RSV-associated hospitalizations among adult 50-64 years old; many of whom had chronic comorbidities. Our results suggest the potential benefit of including these individuals in future RSV vaccination strategies.
Keywords: Adults; Hospitalization; Influenza; RSV; acute respiratory illness.
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